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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bragdon, Dwyer squaring off in Republican primary in District 11

What Dan Dwyer considers to be special interest money, state Senate President Peter Bragdon sees as campaign supporters.

Both men are looking to represent the newly reconfigured state Senate District 11, which now includes Merrimack. The district also encompasses Amherst, Milford and Wilton. Dwyer and Bragdon are running on the Republican ticket and will face off in the Sept. 11 primary. ...

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What Dan Dwyer considers to be special interest money, state Senate President Peter Bragdon sees as campaign supporters.

Both men are looking to represent the newly reconfigured state Senate District 11, which now includes Merrimack. The district also encompasses Amherst, Milford and Wilton. Dwyer and Bragdon are running on the Republican ticket and will face off in the Sept. 11 primary.

Dwyer lives in Merrimack and is a member of the Town Council, while Bragdon, who lives in Milford, has held his seat since he was first elected in 2004.

Bragdon acknowledges that his opponent refers to campaign donations as “special interest money” and also has called for the removal of “the fat cats” in Concord, but said that it is simply money that people have contributed to his political campaign.

“They’re the people I represent,” Bragdon said.

Bragdon said when he was first elected, he didn’t have any supporters because he was new to the scene and had to work to build up a base.

According to committee finance reports filed with the secretary of state’s office Aug. 22, for the 2012 primary race, the “Friends of Peter Bragdon” spent roughly $3,160. This includes $250 in postage, nearly $2,710 in printing and a $200 contribution to Wheeler for Executive Council campaign.

Including the election cycle from two years ago, Bragdon’s campaign spent almost $9,696, leaving him a surplus of approximately $65,819.

For the 2012 primary, “Daniel Dwyer for State Senate” spent a little more than $2,376. This includes roughly $44 in banking fees, $1,602 on signs and a little more than $729 in newspaper and online advertising.

He has a surplus of $405.

Dwyer declined to be interviewed for this story.

In an email to The Telegraph and on his Facebook page, Dwyer wrote that he declined to take part because the paper lacked “journalistic integrity.”

At a recent Merrimack Town Council meeting, where Bragdon introduced himself to members and fielded questions, the issue was raised of getting rid of the tolls from the F.E. Everett Turnpike upon entering the town.

Bragdon said the challenge lies in convincing other senators that this is an important issue to Merrimack residents. He also said that it would be important for him to use the relationships in the Senate he has built over the past eight years to address the tolls.

“It’s a matter of fairness, and it’s not complaining,” Bragdon said about the desire to nix the tolls.

He noted that earlier this year, there was a bill in the House of Representatives that would have doubled the tolls on the F.E. Everett Turnpike. Bragdon said he voiced his opposition to the legislation and that it was recognized that since the Senate president signed up against the bill it was “dead.”

Bragdon considers helping to solve the state’s “huge budget crisis” by covering the $800 million hole as one of his major accomplishments while serving in the Senate.

“We did the heavy lifting,” he said. “We have to be careful we don’t repeat the same mistakes.”

For Bragdon, this means keeping a careful eye on state spending.

Bragdon wants to make New Hampshire a more attractive place to do business.

“New Hampshire has one of the highest business taxes. We need to find a way to reduce that rate,” he said.

He said it is important that businesses are regulated, but these regulations can’t be too broad or costly for a person to successfully run an enterprise.

In The Telegraph’s online Voter Guide, Dwyer noted his anti-tax stance.

“I will stick with like-minded Republicans to thwart any attempt at a sales tax, income tax or any other tax and to prevent increases in current taxes,” he wrote. “I am for anything that will ensure that politicians cannot implement a state income tax.”

As part of his work in state government, Bragdon wants to make sure that future generations have the same opportunities he had upon graduating college.

Bragdon also pointed out that he helped pass a bill supporting school choice. He taught high school math for a number of years and is in his 16th year serving on the Milford School Board.

“I am not afraid of competition in our public schools,” he said.

In the Voter Guide, Dwyer weighed in the Legislature’s cuts to state’s university system.

“The Legislature has not gone too far, when administrators are still making exorbitant salaries. Lower the tuitions and then we can talk,” he wrote.

The Senate president also was proud that he helped override Gov. John Lynch’s veto for the voter ID law, which requires residents to show a photo ID before casting their vote at the polls. Before the veto override, it was an issue that came up every election season, Bragdon said.

“It needs to be confident in voters’ minds that elections are conducted … with no monkey business,” Bragdon said.

He noted that his Senate campaign is based on the work he has done while in state government.

“I am running on my record, I’m pro-life, pro-
Second Amendment,” Bragdon said. “I think the record will show I do a very good job.”

There is no Democratic challenger in District 11.

Erin Place can be reached at 594-6589 or eplace@nashuatelegraph.com. Also follow Place on Twitter (@Telegraph_ErinP).